Apr 1, 2009
Senate Republicans vote against Michigan workers
LANSING -- Senate Republicans voted against hiring Michigan workers Wednesday when they refused to consider the package of bills known as the “Hire Michigan First” package.
Last month the House Democrats passed the "Hire Michigan First" plan, which rewards companies that employ 100 percent Michigan workers with state economic development incentives. The 12-bill package also encourages transparency and accountability by requiring companies that accept incentives to report on who they hire to ensure that Michigan residents are put first. The package also cracks down on companies that hire undocumented workers by creating penalties that include requiring them to pay back their tax incentives and barring them from future state contracts.
Senate Republicans had refused to take up the bills, so Senate Democrats moved to discharge House Bills 4083-4093 from the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism where they were sent when they were approved by the House on March 12. The motion was defeated Wednesday along party lines.
“With unemployment around 12 percent, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to make sure that Michigan residents can get good jobs,” said Sen. Glenn Anderson,” D-Westland. “That includes making sure that these hardworking men and women can count on companies that receive state funding and incentives to hire them first.”
Under the common sense Hire Michigan First program, a company that gets tax breaks and money from Michigan tax payers must hire Michigan workers when possible.
“After getting millions in tax breaks from Michigan taxpayers, a Colorado-based company working in Battle Creek shipped workers in instead of people right here who needed work, “ Anderson said. “The company working in an ethanol plant in Marysville shipped in workers from all over Texas to do the work.”
The chair of the Commerce and Tourism Committee gave the lame excuse for voting against the bills that they were only approved two weeks ago and sent to the Senate. But he has not held a single hearing on the bills. People are losing jobs everyday, but he can’t find the time to hold a hearing? That’s lame.
Because the Senate is the deliberative body, bills are routinely discharged directly to the Senate floor. The Legislature goes on a two-week break after Thursday‘s session, but the Senate Republicans still refused to even consider the bills.
Federal stimulus funds will be used for Michigan infrastructure projects to create Michigan jobs, and Sen. Mike Prusi, D-Ishpeming, said Michigan residents should do the work in order to create jobs in the state.
“It only makes sense that these jobs created to rebuild our state are filled with Michigan workers, and leaving these bills to sit in committee while we go on break, breaks the faith with the people who we represent, “ Prusi said. “We are here to represent their best interests.”